MY CHILDHOOD MEMORIES of the holiday season are timeless and rich. Growing-up in northern Idaho most of my holiday seasons included short daylight hours, snow, and very cold temperatures. This did not stop my brother and I from getting outside. We would build snow forts in the yard, ice-skate, ski and sled whenever we could. Downhill skiing was our favorite activity of the winter season and the holidays presented us with more time to enjoy this activity.
Attending a religious grade school the yearly Christmas program was the yearly event. It was also something that required multiple practices and schedule coordination with many of the other events of the season. Tiny Tim in the Christmas Carol production was one of my acting roles and I am sure I played a shepherd at least twice but probably more. Every year we would attend our church Christmas program and often my brother and I participated in that too.
Steve and his bro in the early '80's
Our family schedule was full of holiday parties and every year we would find time to tour multiple neighborhoods for holiday displays. The yearly lighting and display at the world-known resort in our home town was also an event that we would attend most years. The visual memory of hundreds of red poinsettias throughout the property brings-back a flood of faces and moments of my experiences. The memories of hot chocolate warming-up my body after an outside event or being enveloped in Christmas carols at a musical, ski resort, or on the radio in the car was hard to duplicate as I became an adult.
For me the holiday season became a chore, a time to work more shifts, and multiple lists of things to do. The joy began to escape. My memories of the holidays of my past were times that were more carefree, fun, and warm. Having my own children has revitalized my holiday spirit! I want to give them the opportunity to have similar experiences and create similar memories that I had in my youth. I am now doing everything I can to make this season as festive as possible and as a parent I know that there are limitations.
A transition for me in this process is to actively try not to stress about anything related to the holiday season. Holiday stress is rampant. It is easy to get caught-up in the avalanche of activity and perceived to-dos causing the loss of holiday cheer. In the past this has closed me off to the many opportunities that the season offers. I feel like stress has been a roadblock to me and I need to get past it and show my sons that this should not be a part of this season. It is amazing how quickly children pick-up on stress and I want nothing to inhibit their opportunity to be festive and make their own set of timeless holiday memories.